A handful of hitters were in the running for The Cardinal Nation Johnson City Cardinals Player of the Year Award for 2014, but a rookie ended up coming away with the honor.
First baseman Casey Grayson, the organization’s 21st-round pick in this June’s draft, not only led the team in RBI with 46 but also topped the entire Appalachian League. The left-handed hitter batted close to .300, pacing the Cardinals attack that led to the 2014 Appy League title.
Grayson finished second on the team with five home runs, tied with Casey Turgeon, and was also second in hits with 64. Grayson had 226 plate appearances in his 64 games played this season. Impressively, he drew one more walk than he struck out, 36 to 35.
While offense came naturally for the Texas-native, another factor into his selection was that he only allowed four errors on defense, the least of any Johnson City infielders.
Grayson joined Turgeon as the only Johnson City players on the 2014 Appalachian League All-Star team.
The 23-year-old rode an eight-game hit streak to conclude the regular season. His most impressive performance came in a 7-6 extra-inning loss to Elizabethton on August 31. Grayson went 4-for-6 at the dish, including a double.
Earlier, Grayson was recognized as the Appalachian League’s Player of the Week for the period ending July 7.
Casey Turgeon – Finishing a close second for this award, Turgeon tied for the most hits on the team with 68 and played in 62 games - the most among Cardinals. The second baseman batted a team-best .306 for the year among regular players with four home runs, 26 RBI and stole seven bases.
Blake Drake - The Cardinals outfielder tied Turgeon with most hits and second in stolen bases with seven. Drake was the home run leader on the Cardinals squad with six and batted .282 in 64 games.
Oscar Mercado - The Cardinals' speedy shortstop wreaked havoc on the base paths with a Appalachian League-leading 26 stolen bases and recorded seven more during the Cardinals postseason run. Mercado led the team in plate appearances with 245 and knocked 41 hits for 25 RBI.
Link to master article with all 2014 award winners, team recaps and article schedules for the remainder of this series. Of course, that will include our upcoming selection as the Johnson City Cardinals Player of the Year.
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